How Do You Know if You Have MRSA In Your Urine?

Doctors want to identify MRSA in urine as soon as possible. This antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infection can become life-threatening, especially in aged persons.

Symptoms can include swollen and painful red bumps that leak fluid and resemble spider bites or pimples. If you or a loved one is experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment with a doctor.

If diagnosed, there are several treatment options. These include draining the abscesses and administering less common forms of antibiotics.

Hospitals and other patient-care facilities are the most common locations of these infections.

What Is MRSA?

MRSA stands for “methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.” It is also sometimes known as a “mercer infection.”

Staphylococcus aureus, or “staph,” is an infection. The infection is found almost anywhere. Staph bacteria are one of the most common causes of skin infections in the United States.

This bacterium is typically found on the skin and in the nose of healthy people. We can present staph bacteria without having a staph infection. This is called “colonization.” The bacteria have colonized a host, but the bacteria are not harming anything.

However, staph bacteria can cause minor infections such as pimples and boils. In other cases, staph can lead to more serious infections.

MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to the most common antibiotics. It does not respond to the antibiotics that were once able to destroy it.

For years, doctors over-prescribed antibiotics. They were prescribed for the flu, colds, and viral infections. This contributed to the rise of drug-resistant bacteria. The bacteria evolved to resist the antibiotics.

However, MRSA is not resistant to all antibiotics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that less than 2% of the population is colonized by MRSA bacteria.

The bacteria are contagious and mostly spread through skin-to-skin contact. MRSA can also spread to you if you touch objects that have the bacteria on them.

Resistance And Prevalence

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, MRSA is resistant to the most common antibiotics. These common antibiotics include:

  • Methicillin
  • Oxacillin
  • Penicillin
  • Amoxicillin

You can get MRSA urinary tract infections and skin infections in different places. They can either be community-acquired (CA-MRSA) or hospital-acquired (HA-MRSA).

HA-MRSA in nursing homes is of national and global concern. Staph infections in elderly persons can be particularly dangerous. Antibiotic-resistant staph infections also have a higher mortality rate.

CA-MRSA is a newer problem. It can be acquired in athletic facilities, dormitories, schools, daycares, military barracks, prisons, or other crowded living spaces. Poor hygiene and skin-to-skin contact increase the risk of MRSA infections.

HA-MRSA is more likely to present itself in the elderly. CA-MRSA is more likely to present itself in the young.

Symptoms of MRSA

You may notice a range of symptoms before a doctor finds MRSA in urine or on your skin. If you see any of these symptoms occur in yourself or a loved one, contact a doctor immediately.

MRSA infections may cause you to experience a fever.

For skin infections, MRSA symptoms first appear as swollen or painful red bumps. These bumps may look similar to pimples or spider bites. A misdiagnosis of a spider bite is common for many MRSA infections.

The area may be warm to the touch and full of pus or other draining fluids.

If untreated, these red bumps may become painful abscesses in your skin. At this point, they may require surgical draining. Only a medical professional should drain an abscess or a boil.

If the bacteria spreads through a cut or another open wound, the infection may sink below the surface of the skin. It may spread to internal organs. In this case, MRSA infections can cause serious, life-threatening problems.

These more serious infections might spread into bones, joints, surgical wounds, bloodstreams, heart valves, or lungs.


Antibiotic-resistant infections such as MRSA are known as a worldwide threat to public health. The ability to resist the effect of antibiotics keeps people sick longer and increases the risk of death.

According to the World Health Organization, people suffering from an MRSA infection are estimated to be 64% more likely to die than people with a non-resistant staph infection.

For this reason, it is important that doctors identify these infections early. This is especially true of MRSA in elderly patients. Older individuals tend to have weaker immune systems. They are more susceptible to higher mortality rates.

Doctors identify MRSA in urine and on the skin using a test called an MRSA culture. This test looks for MRSA bacteria in fluid samples taken from the patient.

In addition to urine samples, doctors may take samples from open wounds, sputum in the throat, or blood. As MRSA presents itself in several different localized areas, your MRSA culture will depend on the location of the infection.

The fluid sample combines with special nutrients that prompt any MRSA bacteria to grow. The test can take up to 48 hours. After 48 hours, the results should be conclusive.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the noted symptoms of an MRSA infection, ask your doctor about being tested. You will need proper diagnosis before beginning treatment.

Prevention & Treatment

Antibiotic-resistant infections pose a greater treatment challenge than antibiotic-responsive infections. MRSA costs more to treat and results in a higher mortality rate.

As a result, caregivers attempt to prevent the disease from infecting patients as the first line of defense.

MRSA Prevention

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that two million illnesses and 23,000 deaths are caused by drug-resistant bacteria every year. These numbers only account for illnesses and deaths in the United States.

In 2011, 80,000 invasive MRSA infections and over 11,000 related deaths occurred.

In 2014, the President Barack Obama of the United States of America issued an executive order on combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Among other things, this order developed a task force for combating this kind of bacteria.

The task force resulted in The National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.

The main goals of the Action Plan were: to slow the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and to prevent the spread of these infections.

Infection control is vital to halting the spread of the disease in hospitals. Most prevention methods are inexpensive. They emphasize wearing gloves, washing hands, and covering wounds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention outlines standard precautions for preventing the spread of MRSA:

  • Practice good hand hygiene
  • Wear gloves when encountering bodily fluids
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) on the mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Wear a gown during procedures and patient-care activities
  • Use appropriate handling of soiled patient care equipment
  • Use appropriate handling of laundry in treatment facilities

If you are suffering from a minor MRSA infection, you should still be able to go to work unless directed otherwise by a doctor. It’s important to cover any wounds, abscesses, or boils.

Between 2001 and 2005, the overall rate of invasive MRSA infections dropped 31%. This was predominantly a result of caregivers following appropriate medical procedures.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated 72,444 invasive MRSA infections in the country.

More information on preventing the spread of infection can be found here:


When doctors test for MRSA in urine or on the skin, they are giving their patients the best possible chance for treatment. If the symptoms are identified and treated early, it reduces the risk of life-threatening illness.

If you or a loved one has suffered from MRSA in the past, share your personal experiences in the comments.

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers, MD

Sean Byers is currently a Resident in the Internal Medicine program at UTMB. He studied at the University of Queensland School of Medicine as well as received his Master’s in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Southern California. His background is in biology, computer science, public health, and internal medicine.

Recommended Articles


  • MedlinePlus, "MRSA",
  • CDC, "MRSA and the Workplace",
  • CDC, "MRSA in Healthcare Settings",
  • AARP,
  • NCBI, "Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in nursing homes. Epidemiology, prevention and management",
  • Mayoclinic, "MRSA infection",
  • University of Rochester Medical Center, "MRSA Culture",
  • "Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) ",
  • "National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria,
  • CDC, "Preventing the Spread of MRSA",
  • NCBI, "Unexpected Multidrug Resistance of Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus in Urine Samples: A Single-Center Study",

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